General Muhammadu Buhari who was sworn-in as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria yesterday declared that his administration would not witch hunt anybody in its bid to reposition the country and its economy.
This declaration may be connected with fears expressed in some quarters before he was sworn in that his administration will go after some people perceived to have been involved in corrupt practices while holding public offices.
Apparently disturbed by such fears among some people, the new president made it clear that he would not go after anybody declaring further that such fears were groundless.
Speaking shortly after the mantle of leadership of Nigeria was handed over to him by the immediate past President, Dr. Gooduck Jonathan at Eagle Square Abuja, Buhari assured those habouring such fears that there will be no paying off old scores.
“A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office, I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.
“Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians. I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody,” he added.
Speaking further, President Buhari poured encomiums on Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for his statesmanship while in office declaring that he has set standard for political conduct in Nigeria and commended him for superintending over very credible polls in the country which was accepted by both local and international community.
He said that Jonathan’s achievement in the electoral reform and his accepting defeat after the March 28 presidential election has made Nigerians proud in the global community and stressed that it has shown beyond doubt that Nigerians can do what is right.
His words, “I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are.
“With the support and cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension in the land, we can be a united people capable of doing what is right for our nation.
“Together we co-operated to surprise the world that had come to expect only the worst from Nigeria. I hope this act of graciously accepting defeat by the outgoing President will become the standard for political conduct in the country,” he said.
It would be recalled that at exactly 10:55 am yesterday, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) of the All Progressives Congress formally took over the reign of leadership of Nigeria from former President Goodluck Jonathan as the fifth democratically elected President of the country.
Buhari was sworn-in as the new President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed at exactly 10:46 a.m. but it took about nine minutes for the ceremonial signing of the oath, lowering of the national and defence flags, which were consequently handed over to him by Dr. Jonathan as the new commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Shortly after Buhari was sworn-in, Dr. Jonathan congratulated him and presented to him copies of the Nigerian Constitution and the National and Armed Forces Flags.
Before Buhari mounted the podium to take his oath of office and that of allegiance, his running mate in the March 28 presidential election, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was the first to be sworn-in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria who was assisted by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Ahmed Gambo Saleh.
The inauguration of Buhari is a milestone in the political history of Nigeria as it is the first democratic transfer of power from one political party to another in Nigeria’s history.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party had been in power and the party produced three presidents namely Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007), late Umaru Yar’Adua (2007-2010) and Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2015).
The investiture of Buhari and Prof. Osinbajo was witnessed by over 50 foreign leaders and all the past Nigerian military and democratically elected presidents.
Chieftains of the APC led by the national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun made strong showing at the Eagles Square venue of the inauguration.
On the controversial joint account between the states and local governments, President Buhari declared that he will not close his eyes to the impunity and abuse of the joint account by the state governors.
“Constitutionally there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. Not least the operations of the Local Government Joint Account.
“While the Federal Government cannot interfere in the details of its operations, it will ensure that the gross corruption at the local level is checked. As far as the constitution allows me, I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch”, he said.
President Buhari also sent strong signals to political godfathers and cabals that may be plotting to pocket his administration saying that he will not be anybody’s stooge.
“I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody,” he declared.
President Buhari also dispelled speculations that he will disband the amnesty programme for Niger Delta militants explaining that though the programme is expected to end in December he will sustain the on-going programme.
“The amnesty programme in the Niger Delta is due to end in December, but the Government intends to invest heavily in the projects and programmes currently in place. I call on the leadership and people in these areas to cooperate with the State and Federal Government in the rehabilitation programmes which will be streamlined and made more effective.
“As ever, I am ready to listen to grievances of my fellow Nigerians. I extend my hand of fellowship to them so that we can bring peace and build prosperity for our people,” he said.
He also harped on his expectation from the media and the new social media and appealed to them to be patriotic in carrying out their duties.
Buhari promised that he would do everything to bring back the abducted Chibok girls alive.
The President also used the opportunity to reel out his priorities and the direction of his government including tackling of Boko Haram menace, reform of the military, challenges of unemployment, infrastructural development, war on corruption and foreign relations.
In what appears to be a spiritual dimension to the peaceful transition of power, residents of the Federal Capital Territory noticed rainbow round the sun shortly after Jonathan handed over power to Buhari.
The rainbow is more visible to those that used dark sunshades to view it.